How to Clean a Graco Airless Paint Sprayer (6 Easy Steps)

Have you ever wondered what the proper method is to clean your Graco airless paint sprayer?

Well, if you're ready to start cleaning your spray gun, here are some helpful tips you should know before you start.

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you'll learn:

How To Clean A Graco Airless Paint Sprayer
  • Proper clean up will extend your device's lifespan.
  • Graco contractor-grade airless sprayers are built to last a decade or longer when they're properly cared for.
  • Injury can still occur when washing even in the reduced power, prime mode. Take all recommended safety precautions.
  • And much more!

Remember, not all information you find on Google is accurate.

That's why we at ProPaintCorner.com write from a position of hands-on experience, informed by published manufacturer guidelines.

What Do You Need to Know About Cleaning a Graco Sprayer?

Any experienced painter will tell you that clean-up is always best done immediately after each use of your Graco airless paint sprayer.

If somebody tells you it can be left until the following day, err on the side of caution and be more proactive than those making such recommendations. 

A painter negligent in their clean-up practice may experience clogs, debris build up, and a less fine finish on dried surfaces. Your added time investment is a must to achieve professional-grade results.

Preventative upkeep is the name of the game. Do it and your sprayer will last longer and will require fewer repairs.

Did you know: Graco has been in the industry for 50 years and by 1971 they reached $50 million in sales. By the end of the 1970s they were able to double that number.

Safety Recommendations When Cleaning A Graco Airless Paint Sprayer?

Beyond the integrity and longevity that proper maintenance brings, your own safety is a factor. Be sure to take all standard precautions that you'd otherwise take while using the unit, also while cleaning it.

Just because the pressure is reduced while cleaning in prime mode, injuries have been sustained by painters cleaning their airless sprayers before. Besides, at the end of your day, your mental and physical acumen is reduced due to worker fatigue

Consider this when beginning your cleanup process. Perhaps consider a 15-minute break including a small snack and some fresh water to support your body and mind while you clean up. 

Your airless sprayer is essentially a pressure washer specifically designed to shoot paint rather than water.

The air compressor is powerful and could harm you should the jet stream ever be directed towards exposed skin. Remember, safety first!

Read Also: What are the top air compressors for paint sprayers?

Are These Guidelines Specific Only To the Graco Airless Paint Sprayer?

Any airless spray gun will have a similar maintenance procedure, but for the sake of this guide, you'll learn how the Graco sprayer gun is best cleaned.

While the general approach that is outlined in this article may apply roughly to other brands of sprayers, such as the Titan, or a Wagner; be advised to follow the specific guidelines included in your owner's guide for any make other than Graco.

Read More >> How Does an Airless Paint Sprayer Work?

Some Thoughts on Various Materials and How They May Affect Cleaning

Standard cleaning tips here presented reflect the procedure for cleaning after the use of a water-based material only. So, if you're using a non-water based material such as oil, or enamel-based products you'll want to refer to your owner's guide.

Among all materials, Zinsser primer is particularly difficult to effectively clean out of an airless spray gun if it sits longer than even a few hours. Immediate cleaning is essential with anything but latex paint.

What Are TheSupplies You'll Need To Clean Your Graco Sprayer?

Aside from your sprayer itself and all its associated parts, you'll need a few additional supplies as well. They are as follows:

  • A five-gallon bucket 
  • Clean water from a garden hose
  • Mineral spirits, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, and pump armor. Any of these should work reasonably well. Try each and see which work best for your situation.
  • A rag for drying and polishing the exterior parts of your sprayer once the internal parts are clean.

Even a first-time DIY user can follow these easy steps and effectively clean their system.

Read More >> How do you clean an HVLP spray gun?

How to Clean A Graco Airless Paint Sprayer (6 Simple Steps)

This information is exact for the Graco Magnum model and relatively applicable for other similar models as well. 

1. Pre-clean preparation
2. Rinse and flush paint tubes
3. Suction tube cleaning
4. Drain paint from the hose
5. Clean gun
6. Final steps

Graco's own video detailing the clean up process on the popular Graco Magnum airless sprayer model:

Step 1: Pre-clean preparation

Ensure the power switch is set to the 'off' position. Then, turn the prime/spray valve to 'prime.' This will remove pressure from the system. Next, take the suction tube and drain tube from the paint and set it in your empty bucket. Wipe the excess material from the tube's exterior. Engage your gun trigger lock. Remove the spray tip and guard assembly from the spray gun. 

Step 2: Rinse and flush paint tubes

Attach the power flush adapter to a garden hose. Now close the power flush valve. Turn on the water to the garden hose. Now, open the power flush valve. Clean off the suction tube, drain tube, and inlet strainer. Once again, close the power flush valve.

Step 3: Suction tube cleaning

Remove the inlet strainer from the suction tube. Attach the garden hose and the power flush adapter to the suction tube. With the drain tube in the waste bucket, open the power flush valve. Allow the sprayer to pump water through the drain tube for at least 20 seconds.

Step 4: Drain paint from the hose

Remove the remaining paint that's in the hose. Disengage your gun trigger lock, point the gun inside the paint pail, squeeze the trigger and now turn the power switch on. Paint from the paint hose and suction tube is released back into your paint pail. 

When you start to see the paint from your spray gun become diluted with water, while holding down the trigger, move the gun so it sprays into the waste bucket.

Step 5: Clean gun

Keep the gun triggered for at least two minutes or until clear water is coming out of the gun. Turn the pressure control know all the way down. Now, stop triggering the gun and engage the gun trigger lock. 

Turn the power switch off and turn the prime/spray valve to prime. This will relieve any pressure that may still remain in the system.

Step 6: Final steps

Finally, turn off the water running to the hose. Remove the power flush adapter and unscrew the garden hose. Your sprayer is now clean. Clean and dry all parts including the spray tip, tip guard, gun filter, and inlet strainer.

You may clean the filters along with the tip and tip guard using flushing fluid and a soft bristle brush. Inspect each part for damage and wear. 

Once your system is clean, re-insert the tip guard onto the sprayer. Now, put the tip into the guard in the reverse position. Turn up the pressure and pull the spray trigger to release any remaining paint particles that may be remaining in the spray tip.

If you've completed flushing your system with water, you may wish to flush it again with mineral spirits or Pump Armor. This will leave a protective coating on your parts that will prevent freezing and corrosion in future use. 

Read More >> What are the top HVLP spray guns for kitchen cabinets?

Finally, wipe your sprayer hose and gun with a rag soaked in water or mineral spirits.

Properly store your unit in a safe, dry location, away from the natural elements. Make sure also that no water remain inside your pump when stored. Freezing temperatures could cause the water to expand, thus damaging your system.

Congratulations, you've now completed cleaning your Graco airless paint sprayer!

Other Valuable Resources for Cleaning your Graco Airless Sprayer

Paint sprayer cleaning is just as essential as ensuring an even spray pattern when painting. The latter ensures your client will be fully satisfied and send referrals your way. The former ensures your equipment will be ready to go when you are on the next job.

Paint sprayer tips beyond cleaning can be found throughout ProPaintCorner.com. Check back regularly for the latest information as Graco's line grows and more helpful tips are added.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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